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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.43%
Worth A Look: 21.43%
Just Average: 7.14%
Pretty Crappy42.86%
Sucks: 17.14%

6 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Human Stain, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"A terrible blot on two illustrious careers."
2 stars

I expect The Human Stain will turn up on plenty of Ten Worst lists this year, and deservedly so. Preposterously cast, plodding in pace, and anachronistic in "feel," just about everything about this film is wrong. It is as icy and bereft as the drive along a snow-covered rural road that bookends its beginning and end.

Each has an Oscar-baiting scene, but neither Anthony Hopkins nor Nicole Kidman is remotely believable -- he as a 72 year old Jewish man with a secret going back over 50 years, she as his 34 year old girlfriend, a trailer-trash janitor. One has to wonder where the hell Martin Landau and Robin Wright Penn or Jennifer Connelly were when the roles of Coleman Silk and Faunia Farley were up for grabs, and how and when Coleman, who was reared and continued to live in the American midwest, picked up the Welsh accent.

At one point, Coleman describes Faunia as being, "[not] my first love, or my great love, but she is my last love." That we're supposed to accept her as any sort of love is asking a lot of the audience, given the complete absence of chemistry between Hopkins and Kidman.

The two bright spots in the cast are Wentworth Miller, who plays Coleman as a young man, and Anna Devere Smith as the mother he betrays. Besides being a fine actor, Miller is perfectly suited to the part physically, unlike Hopkins, to whom he bears not even the slightest resemblance.

Also miscast, although I have no quibble with his performance, is Gary Sinese, who is simply far too young for the role of novelist Nathan Zuckerman, the man Coleman envisions to write his memoirs.

Ed Harris is terribly underutilized as Faunia's psychotic ex-husband Lester, a character shredded mercilessly in translation from book to screen.

Philip Roth's source novel, set in 1998, during the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, is a biting satire on political correctness run amok. Here, the setting is the same but seems largely irrelevant.

Having wasted the 106 minutes I'd love to have back, about all I can do is quickly forget the unfortunate experience. Hopkins, Kidman, Sinese and Harris deserve better -- and so did I.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8284&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/24/04 00:04:28
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/03/15 Anne Mixed as far as talent goes, disjointed 3 stars
9/02/08 Shaun Wallner Boring not worth it! 1 stars
10/22/06 William Goss Self-indulgent awards bait that clumsily attempts literary scope. Unfulfilling. 2 stars
6/21/06 TB Too many flashback in the film=Dull 2 stars
6/18/06 chienne another film stuffed up by Kidman, when will they stop her making them? 1 stars
11/14/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Spook is a racist name. I'll forgive you for not knowing that. 4 stars
8/25/05 Indrid Cold Anthony Hopkins as an African American (!) is not as interesting as it sounds. 3 stars
5/16/05 m orwig spectacular performances 5 stars
3/06/05 ad sucks 1 stars
10/23/04 ODH Great ideas, but poor direction/storytelling and bad casting limit the film 3 stars
9/28/04 Harry D Anthony Hopkins make this one more than worthwhile. He is authentic. 4 stars
9/15/04 Terry McGuffage Why was she talking to a crow? This may actually be the worst movie I have ever seen. 1 stars
9/15/04 Doc Shock Boring. Unlikeable characters. 2 stars
8/09/04 ownerofdajoint best movie kidman has ever done see it for her..hopkins is regular excellent self also,,, 4 stars
8/03/04 Beth too long, too much of Kidman, and boring 2 stars
7/24/04 Kyle the cat great acting,good beginning,poor ending 4 stars
7/18/04 hollywood Hopkins miscast. No mystery, suspense at all. 2 stars
5/17/04 kasper absolute crap... boring, miscast and confusing 1 stars
3/25/04 rojo Genuine emotion in this movie, really liked it. 5 stars
1/26/04 Vladislava Vojnovic Screenwriters work! 4 stars
1/20/04 Betty White Hopkins is miscast, but still good in this masterful film. 5 stars
12/08/03 Lyn Superb movie, especially for those who believe in the universal law of cause and effect. 5 stars
12/07/03 Marcin very well done and perfect acting both of them(KIdman and Hopkins) making good feeling 5 stars
12/05/03 MacGregor A film for thoughtful people. Should win Oscar. Geezer R scenes are gross!! 5 stars
12/01/03 illconceivedplot I agree this film has some ragged edges, bizarre transitions, and implausible twists. 3 stars
11/27/03 atirupa great 5 stars
11/25/03 viewer Well acted well told story 4 stars
11/22/03 john interesting, good acting, Nocole Kidman yes in deedie 4 stars
11/13/03 gloria flashbacks are probably more worth seeing than performances by nicole and anthony 4 stars
11/06/03 Cameron Slick Not completely cohesive but with great acting and intrigue. 4 stars
11/05/03 Kooler What a snooze! Plus: gross old man sex. Yurg. 2 stars
11/03/03 nik anthony hopkins? wouldn't bill cosby have worked as well here? 1 stars
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  31-Oct-2003 (R)
  DVD: 12-Apr-2011



Directed by
  Robert Benton

Written by
  Nicholas Meyer

  Anthony Hopkins
  Nicole Kidman
  Ed Harris
  Gary Sinise
  Jacinda Barrett
  Ron Canada

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